Some interesting comments on last week’s Short Swings! asking if older skiers and boarders are invisible to the people making business decisions about skiing.

Reader Rich Spritz, a Breckenridge instructor, wrote that seniors don’t spend money and it makes sense that, resorts, being businesses, don’t give seniors their attention.

  • There’s no question that the group he describes exists. I see them sitting around lodges, nursing a cup of coffee; shooting the breeze. But they don’t represent all older skiers. Our reader surveys indicate that on day trips, seniors spend about $100 per person per day and, on vacation, $250 per person per day. Last year we asked how much they spent per person on skiing and skiing-related activities for the season. 56% reported they spent between $1000 and $5000 per person for the season. More than 10% spent $5000 or more. Note that their ages averaged around 67. It may be that older people like to sit around and socialize. But even the most hard-hearted corporations should keep a soft spot for loyal customers who for decades have supported their (or their prior owners’) operations. Considering that most older skiers are at the mountain mid-week, when operations are at full capacity and usage is not, letting older, dedicated skiers hang out over a cup should not a hardship for anyone.

Catherine Meyer wrote that PSIA now offers Senior Specialist credentials to instructors interested in working with older skiers. Many of these instructors are organizing special programs at their home resorts to cater to older skiers and riders.

  • would like to publish a list of areas offering special programs for older skiers and boarders. We’d appreciate information about those programs from readers.

Bob Ohrt wrote that skiing has always been young adult oriented. The pics you see in ads are almost always the young and the beautiful. That is fitting…When skiing we don’t think of ourselves as Seniors.

  • Bob is correct. One of our reader surveys asked for actual age and how respondents felt after a good day on the hill. The average actual age was 67; the perceived age was 47. That’s consistent with age perception surveys in non-skiing sectors. For most people, behavior (e.g. spending and lifestyle decisions) is influenced by perception, and when we perceive ourselves as younger, we behave that way. I’m in favor of keeping that 20-year subtraction in our age arithmetic.

And Ellen wrote, Senior skiers are the healthiest seniors I know, it would be awesome to see us depicted in some ski ad!! I…bet lots of the youth and families out there are being bankrolled for these pricey endeavors by grandma and grandpa.

  • Ellen, you are spot on!

Summit County (CO) 50+ Winter Games to be Held Feb 10-12

The 39th Annual 50+ Winter Games in Summit County, Colorado will be held February 10 – 12. Seniors compete in Alpine and Nordic events, figure and speed skating, and “hockey shoot skills.” The event also features a series of social events. It’s a fund-raiser for the Summit County Senior Nutrition Programs. Inexpensive to participate and sounds like a lot of fun. Click here to register or for more information.

Tribute to Stein and Best Pow Vids of the Year

Stein Eriksen was born in and died in the month of December. His grace on skis transformed the sport. I had the good fortune of riding the lift and skiing with him a few hours one morning at Deer Valley. It was in the late-80s or early-90s. This 41/2 minute tribute to his skiing accomplishments is wonderful.

Powder Magazine,which always publishes mind-boggling ski pix, issued this 3 minute video compilation of the best powder videos of the year. My guess is that the skiers pictured are between 16 and 24.

Ski Cakes!!!!!

Last week I showed a picture of my ski-oriented brithday cake and asked to see some of yours. Please keep them coming…

Marilyn Edman sent in this beauty made by her friend Sue McEvoy on the occassion of Marilyn’s 70th.


And Kelli Majiros sent in this from her Tuesday morning Ski Divas group at Jack Frost in the  Poconos. Group leader, Bernie Oldroyd, leads an annual Susan B. Komen Ski for the Cure fundraiser.

Skiers’ Travel Trailer?

Reader Scott Colesworthy asks if anyone can recommend a travel trailer made for winter conditions: insulated, cold-resistant plumbing, etc. Please register suggestions in Comments following this article.

Happy Holidays!

Mike and I are taking a break for the holidays. will be back January 4.


  1. Renee L'Abbe says:

    At 60, I became a ski instructor. This fall, I went back to the gym to prepare for this season. I still work full time, and now I teach kids to ski on the weekend. I am fitter and happier than I was in my 20s!

  2. ORC, Outdoor RV in Oregon make RVs that are well insulated and ready for winter.

  3. Carlan Silha says:

    I ski at Big White in British Columbia, Canada and mountain offers special ski instruction for seniors 50+ on Monday. The name we use is Master Monday and it consists of a 2 hour group lesson followed by a gourmet lunch with a glass of wine… much better does it get?

  4. Jon,

    While spending $100 or even $250 on skiing may seem a big deal to seniors on a fixed income, the guy who brings his wife and two kids to Breckenridge from Florida is probably spending $5000 per day, all in, much of it going either directly or indirectly to Vail Resorts. Guess who VR builds their business model around?


  5. I am 86 years old and started skiing when I was 31. I recently wrote “My 50+ year Love Affair with Skiing’ in which I chronicled skiing over 36 western mountains I skied many of them multiple times. This number does not include the midwestern “mountains that I skied. I believe I paid my dues. I am now fighting multiple ailments to get ready to ski this season. Of course, I will not have the advantage of paying senior rates because they have been stripped away by large corporations in their quest to consolidate ski areas in order to turn over even greater profits. I am, fortunately, financially able to pay the exorbitant rates now being charged but many of my fellow seniors can not. Their pensions have been stripped away or drastically reduced in the name of greater profits.

  6. The reader survey that stated: seniors skiers spend $100. Per day is grossly in error. A more accurate estimate would be in the $25- $50 range Day midweek tickets in NH are free Cannon (65 residents) or $25. Bretton Woods. Add coffee/cocoa and bag lunch $5.00 max

  7. Perhaps our ski areas should follow a closer statistic. Most families and young mountaineers are not early arrivals. With most ski areas I visit, the weekend lift line witching hour is 10:30 -11:45 AM. High demands on lifts are also from 12:45 PM to 2:45 PM. So, why not start lobbying Senior lift tickets for the slack time periods of 8:00 AM to 10:30 AM = 2.5 hours plus 2:30 to 4:00 PM =1.5 hours (daylight changes and adjustments to goggles may be needed) With RFID, the permitted time slots could easily be managed. Between 10:30 to 2:30, seniors could take their boots off and hit the restaurant and coffee bar. Since it takes .5 hours to suit up and another .5 to un-suit, it is easy for social skiers to gobble up 3 hours of down time. Gross discounts should be offered to fill these slack periods with seniors. Life long skiers are usually ready for first tracks every morning. Early to bed, early to rise, makes a wo(man) healthy, wealthy and wise.

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